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This philosophy provides direction for education within the College of Health Professions in congruence with the mission and goals of Wilmington University.
Healthcare professionals are adult learners with diverse backgrounds, abilities, and experiences. Adult learning evolves from exploration of personal values, exposure to new experiences and ideas, and adaptation to change within the professions and the healthcare system.
The curriculum at Wilmington University emphasizes the commitment to lifelong learning. In order to promote lifelong learning, we believe that programs must be innovative and viewed by the learner as relevant to healthcare practice. In addition, we believe knowledge is best obtained when the learner actively participates in a “humanistic” educational process where faculty collaborate with the student to set goals, plan learning experiences and evaluate achievement. In addition, faculty serve as professional role models, facilitators of learning, and resource persons.
The College of Health Professions faculty acknowledge accountability to the learner, the institution, the profession, and the community of interest through continuous, proactive development of their body of knowledge. This accountability fosters relevant curricula and professional and community involvement as scholar-practitioners.
Allied health professions are many, and practices vary significantly. Despite differences, we believe the allied health professions share commonalities including responsibility to patients and society, collaboration with other health care providers, and key roles for practitioners. These roles include: care provider, leader, and teacher.
The care provider role is based in the skills and concepts learned in associate degree programs. This role is enhanced through the development of critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. With these skills, allied health practitioners are better able to anticipate, identify, and meet the needs of patients independently and in collaboration with other members of the health care team.
The leader role is multifaceted and includes the ability to lead as a member of a team, as the manager of a team, or as an educator. In order to be effective leaders, allied health professionals need to practice lifelong learning to remain proficient in current skills and to develop additional skills in response to patient and societal need. Allied health professionals as leaders utilize evidence based practice, act as advocates for patients, and practice according to legal and ethical guidelines.
The teacher role includes the education of patients and colleagues. Allied health professionals teach patients in regard to safety, self-care/disease management, and health promotion and risk reduction. In conjunction with the leader role, allied health professionals teach colleagues formally or informally to promote lifelong learning and the growth of their profession.
The following are key concepts relevant to our philosophy.
Client: The client as the primary focus of nursing care encompasses the individual, family, and community in context with the environment. Human responses to the environment are influenced by factors such as values, culture, and developmental tasks across the life span.
Environment: The environment includes all elements that affect life and is influenced by our global society. The interdependence that exists between the client and the environment is critical to health.
Health: Health is the adaptive response to biological, psychological, spiritual, and environmental forces which include socio-economic and political aspects. Health and illness exist on a continuum. Health is defined on a personal level; therefore choices pertaining to health are highly individualized and respected.
Nursing: Nursing is directed towards collaborating with individuals or groups to promote health and provide assistance and intervention when health is compromised. The interface among theory, evidence based practice, and research is essential.
The caregiver-healer role is based on sound theoretical principles in order to respond to the health needs of clients. As the client is confronted with illness or crisis, nursing care assists individuals, families and communities in achieving their maximum health potential. The caregiver-healer role encompasses independent decision making as well as interdisciplinary collaboration to meet the needs of the client. Respect for others and their right to make informed choices is critical in the caregiver-healer role.
The nurse leader has a role in planned change, whether change is realized through improved health for the individual or through improved community awareness. The nurse leader accepts responsibility for understanding and altering forces that affect health care delivery locally, nationally, and globally. Linkages with social supports and advocacy are important components of the leadership role. Advocacy encompasses mutual respect, cooperation, and accountability. The nurse leader has a role in the implementation of health care technologies and evidence based practice, and the development and promotion of the profession.
Nurse as teacher fosters health promotion and prevention at all levels through client support and education. Teaching is a planned, goal-directed role of the nurse in collaboration with the client. Teaching clients about healthy behaviors and disease management is central to nursing practice and promotes involvement in and personal responsibility for health promotion and risk reduction. The teaching role of the nurse also involves instructing one’s colleagues and motivating them towards life-long learning.
Research is critical for expanding nursing’s body of knowledge. As a consumer of research the nurse is guided by scientific inquiry in establishing evidence based nursing practice. Research findings are evaluated for relevance and application to nursing practice. Research results are integrated into the roles of caregiver, leader, and teacher.
The purpose of graduate nursing education at Wilmington University is to stimulate personal and professional growth of individual students as well as the advancement of the nursing profession. The graduate nursing faculty encourages students to synthesize knowledge, strengthen communication skills, and be empowered to promote care and advocacy of diverse groups. The faculty strongly agree that "The advanced practice nurse of the third millennium must be technically competent, use critical thinking and decision models, possess vision that is shared with colleagues and consumers, and function in a vast array of roles” (Milstead, 2009, p. 275)
Advanced practice nurses are necessary stewards for an evolving healthcare system. The graduate curriculum at Wilmington University prepares advanced practice nurses to take their place in the constantly changing health care milieu. The nurse practitioner program prepares students to function autonomously when caring for individuals, families, and communities in health and illness. Students bring individual experiences to the program that will contribute to the role of an advanced practice nurse. The program fosters advanced critical thinking skills, and encourages evidence-based practice, adaptability, flexibility, ethical integrity, and visionary leadership.
Nurses in a variety of advanced practice roles such as executives, educators, and legal nurse consultants are critical to the advancement of the nursing profession in the 21st century.
Nurse executive graduates are prepared to provide the voice of nursing within the complex healthcare system while collaborating with diverse disciplines. These professionals contribute a working knowledge of financial and quality management, skills in resource allocation and team development, and the ability to think creatively and strategically. A central goal of nurse executives is to provide the nursing staff with a variety of professional development opportunities to insure an effective work environment in which nurses are empowered to continuously improve patient care.
Future nurse educators are challenged in this program to incorporate the best educational practices for use in an ever changing system of care and education. Nurse educators develop and refine a broad set of skills to address content through a diverse array of methodologies. The educator/learner dyad is approached with empathy, active communication, knowledge, and ethical integrity. These nurse educator graduates commit to life-long learning and growth in their expertise of being, and learning, with those with whom they interact – in the classroom, clinical arena, and/or the community.
The legal nurse consultant program prepares practitioners to facilitate the interaction between nursing, medicine, and the law. Safety and improved patient care are emphasized as primary goals of this program. Legal nurse consultant students attain the knowledge and competence appropriate to the particular setting, role, specialty area, or situation in which they practice. The legal nurse consultant is expected, through life-long learning and self-reflection, to maintain advocacy for clients and employers.
Milstead, J. (2009). Advanced practice nurses and public policy, naturally. In Advanced practice nursing: Essential knowledge for the profession (pp. 275-301). Boston, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
Today’s advance practice nurses need to have the forward-thinking clinical expertise and leadership skills at their command to promote the application and implementation of evidence-based practices that are linked to original scientific research. Accomplishing this goal means linking knowledge about health policy, informatics, and business practices to care of individual clients, families and communities. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the terminal degree to produce the most competent nurse clinicians to meet the nation’s increasingly complex healthcare needs.
The master’s program prepares graduates to:
Our mission is to create an academic environment for undergraduate and graduate health professions education that:
This information applies to students who enter this degree program during the 2012-2013 Academic Year. If you entered this degree program before the Fall 2012 semester, please refer to the academic catalog for the year you began your degree program.